Jackson pivotal in initiating Pistons' offense

Detroit's point guard will use plasma injection to treat knee tendinitis

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

The injury bug has no offseason, and it hit the Detroit Pistons before they played their first preseason game on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Pistons point guard was diagnosed with tendinitis in his left knee. And on Saturday, head coach Stan Van Gundy said that Jackson will get a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday. Jackson could miss 6-8 weeks, meaning the Pistons would be without him for at least 12 games and as much as a quarter of the season.

Rod Beard of the Detroit News has the story…

“He will get the PRP injection in New York on Monday,” Van Gundy said. “I haven’t gotten the timetable but it’s a significant amount of time. He’ll be on crutches for three to seven days.”

Jackson previously had the plasma injection as treatment when he played with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011. It has the longest recovery time of all the options, but has the highest probability of relieving the pain for an extended period.

“Our hope was that it was more normal tendinitis stuff and we could work it out but it didn’t appear to be, and on top of that, he had the bone bruise,” Van Gundy said. “He had a pretty significant setback compared to some of these other guys – Marcus (Morris) a little bit, Ish (Smith) a little bit.

“It’s pretty typical stuff and that’s what we hoped with Reggie, but it’s not the way it turned out.”

Jackson’s absence is a big setback for a team trying to take another step forward and compete for a decent seed in the second tier of the Eastern Conference, and for a team that depends on its point guard for a huge chunk of its offense.

According to SportVU, Jackson ran more pick-and-rolls than any other player in the league last season. And among the top 10, he had the third highest usage rate (which calculates what percentage of ball screens result in a shot, turnover or drawn foul from the ball-handler or screener).

Jackson ran 1,853 more pick-and-rolls than any other Piston. Next on the list was Steve Blake (752), who’s no longer with the team. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ran just 482, a number which ranked 24th among shooting guards. Jackson ranked fourth in the league in total time of possession, with no other Piston ranking in the top 50.

The Pistons did not run a multiple-ball-handler offense. So something has got to change now that their primary ball-handler is out. Ish Smith will replace Jackson in the starting lineup, but he’ll be the fifth best scorer on the floor.

Before the Pistons’ preseason loss in Brooklyn on Thursday, Van Gundy said that, even if Jackson was healthy, he would have liked to reduced his team’s dependence on its point guard.

“He’ll bring the ball up every time and will still run, probably, more pick-and-rolls than anybody in the league,” Van Gundy said. “But yeah, I would like to diversify our offense a little bit. And obviously, his time out will force us to do that. So, long run, that could be a good thing.”

It doesn’t mean that Caldwell-Pope or any of the Pistons’ other wings are going to start running pick-and-rolls themselves. Instead, we’ll see a heavier dose of other actions.

“We’ll just have to do different things for other people,” Van Gundy said. “We don’t have to run pick-and-rolls for those guys. We can run KCP off of screens. We can do a lot things with both Tobias [Harris] and Marcus [Morris], where they can handle, they can post, they can [isolate]. So we can do a lot of things. We can get the ball inside more. So there are a lot of things we can do. We just have to see how it all develops.”

The Pistons scored less than a point per possession with Jackson off the floor last season. If his return is on the early side of that 6-8 week timeframe, it would come at the start of a difficult stretch of schedule, when they play eight of nine games against teams that finished over .500 last season.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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